New jail program targets illegal immigrants
By JULIE JOHNSON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 6:59 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 2, 2010 at 6:59 p.m.
Sonoma County this week will become the first in the Bay Area in which anyone booked into the county jail automatically will have their immigration status checked.
Under the program announced Tuesday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, the fingerprints of those arrested will be electronically sent to the Department of Homeland Security for comparison with more than 100 million fingerprint records. Those with immigration records will be flagged for review by ICE agents.
Critics of the Secure Communities program, which starts Friday in Sonoma County, say it pulls local law enforcement agencies closer into the federal government's immigration enforcement role.
ICE and Sonoma County sheriff's officials described the new program as an added tool to get repeat immigrant offenders off the street and out of the country.
“This is a common-sense approach: Everyone who gets arrested gets checked for immigration status,” Sheriff's Capt. Matt McCaffrey said. “In this case, they're already in the system for entering into the country illegally or for having a record.”
Previously, ICE staff visited local jails about three times a week and checked booking records for inmates identified as foreign nationals, said Craig Meyer, assistant field office director for ICE detention and removal operations in San Francisco.
The new program will increase the number of people flagged to immigration authorities, although officials don't yet know by how much, he said.
“We'll have to make a choice on which cases we pursue,” Meyer said. “Obviously. we want to get the worst of the worst off the street.”
Since its start in late 2008, the program has identified more than 16,000 immigrants in 16 states charged with felonies, such as murder, rape and kidnapping, ICE reported. Of those, 3,400 were deported.
Ten California counties now participate in the program: Sacramento, Los Angeles, Ventura, San Diego, Imperial, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Solano, San Joaquin and Stanislaus. ICE officials expect the program to be used nationwide by 2013.
Counties with higher populations of undocumented immigrant criminals were the first to participate in the program, said Virginia Kice, ICE spokeswoman.
Critics say the program puts local law enforcement into a closer relationship with federal immigration enforcement.
“We're trying to accomplish the opposite, to have our county employees less involved with ICE,” said Richard Coshnear, an immigration attorney and member of the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County.
“I think we'll start seeing more and more people arrested for petty charges and being set up for deportation,” he said.
The program puts undue pressure on sheriff's offices, which must house people on immigration holds, said Arturo Venegas, who retired as Sacramento police chief in 2003 and now runs the Law Enforcement Engagement Initiative, a group aimed at adding a law enforcement perspective to the immigration debate.
“Who pays the bill?” Venegas said.
The county, for the most part, sheriff's officials say.
ICE officers must pick up an inmate detained on an immigration hold within 72 hours of an arrest, said Linda Savoy, Sonoma County's assistant sheriff in charge of the jails.
The county is only reimbursed for immigration holds if the inmate stays more than four days and is convicted of a crime, said Dennis Jaques, a Sheriff's Office administrative services officer.
The federal government reimbursed the Sheriff's Office about $1.1 million for housing inmates on immigration holds for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, Jaques said.
“It doesn't meet the cost of housing, I know that,” he said.
Savoy said she doesn't expect to see a jump in inmates because ICE has been ramping up its efforts to track and detain people illegally in the U.S. for years.
Savoy said 966 people were released into ICE custody in 2009, and the numbers have been rising by the hundreds each year. Only 153 inmates were sent to ICE in 2004, she said.
The program could reduce jail population if judges use information on a person's immigration status in sentencing decisions, McCaffrey said. For example, a judge may waive time for minor crimes and release the inmate to ICE custody, he said.
“There are individuals in the country illegally and they're re-offending,” he said. “Now, they're not going to be re-offending in Sonoma County.”
Meanwhile, a U.S. district judge today will hold a hearing in Oakland on a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Northern California that accuses the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office of acting beyond its authority to target, arrest and detain Latinos. The suit says the Sheriff's Office routinely holds Latinos longer than the maximum 72 hours for immigration holds.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
New jail program targets illegal immigrants
ICE serves 180 audit notices to businesses in five states
Employment records will be screened for compliance with federal law
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 07:24
NEW ORLEANS - U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is issuing Notices of Inspection (NOIs) to 180 businesses in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee. The notices alert business owners that ICE will be inspecting their hiring records to determine whether or not they are complying with employment eligibility verification laws and regulations.
Inspections are one of the most powerful tools the federal government has to enforce employment and immigration laws. This new initiative is part of ICE's increased focus on holding employers accountable for their hiring practices and efforts to ensure a legal workforce.
"ICE is committed to establishing a meaningful I-9 inspection program to promote compliance with the law. This effort is a first step in ICE's long-term strategy to address and deter illegal employment," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr. acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in New Orleans.
Employers are required to complete and retain a Form I-9 for each individual they hire for employment in the United States. This form requires employers to review and record the individual's identity document(s) and determine whether the document(s) reasonably appear to be genuine and related to the individual.
Due to the ongoing, law enforcement sensitive nature of these audits, the names and locations of the businesses will not be released at this time.
In 2009, ICE implemented a new, comprehensive strategy to reduce the demand for illegal employment and protect employment opportunities for the nation's lawful workforce. Under this strategy, ICE is focusing its resources on the auditing and investigation of employers suspected of cultivating illegal workplaces by knowingly employing illegal workers. The initiative being launched today is a direct result of this new strategy.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Police Log for March 1, 2010 [2nd item]
March 1, 2010
From staff reports
Police cited a 47-year-old man for fraudulent use of an I.D. and then discovered he was a felon wanted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to Chapel Hill police reports. Carlos Aldrete-Cruz was taken to Orange County Jail in lieu of $1,500 bond, reports state.
Woman faces deportation in forgery case
By Mike Rose | Austin Daily Herald
Published Monday, March 1, 2010
An Austin woman could face deportation after being sentenced on a single count of aggravated forgery Friday in Mower County court for using an alias to work illegally in town.
Brenda Gabriel Reynua, 19, is on three-years probation in the meantime, as the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement department begins the process of likely sending her out of the country.
Reynua is among three sisters facing similar charges stemming from a June police search of a southwest Austin residence.
Gloria Lizeth Reynua, 21, is scheduled for sentencing May 28. The third sister, 29-year-old Martha Isela Reynua, has contested charges against her and awaits a May 17 trial date.
Two others — Silvia Patricia Munoz-Rodriguez, 47, the mother of the three sisters, and her boyfriend, Cesar Hernandez-Islas, 28 — are wanted on Mower County warrants.
The search in question was executed at 308 Ninth St. SW on June 2.
According to a criminal complaint, that search uncovered a number of fraudulent documents linked to the family members, including Social Security cards, state ID cards and Quality Pork Processors work stubs.
During the search, Gloria Reynua attempted to text message Martha Reynua, warning her in Spanish to get away. Martha Reynua was not at the Austin home — she has a Minneapolis address listed in court records.
ICE arrests 49 in operation targeting criminals, fugitives
Monday, 01 March 2010 09:5
MILWAUKEE - Nearly 50 foreign nationals were arrested in central and western Wisconsin during a week-long enforcement action targeting criminal aliens and immigration fugitives. This operation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Border Patrol in Duluth, Minn.
The ICE operation, which began Feb. 18 and concluded Wednesday, targeted aliens with criminal records, previously deported aliens, and immigration fugitives with outstanding deportation orders. Thirty four of those arrested, or 69 percent, have criminal records in addition to their immigration violations.
Arrests were made in the following Wisconsin counties: Langlade, Dunn, Monroe, Eau Claire, Marathon, Portage, Clark, Trempealeau, Sauk, Wood, Shawano, and Waupaca.
Of the 49 arrested, 20 were arrested based on their prior criminal histories; some of their convictions and arrests include: carrying a concealed weapon, drug possession cocaine, fourth degree sexual assault, felony fraud, multiple OWIs (Operating while Intoxicated), and possession of methamphetamine. Of the 20 criminal aliens arrested, 18 are illegal aliens and two are U.S. permanent residents (green card holders) whose previous criminal convictions make them eligible for deportation.
ICE officers also targeted and arrested 17 fugitives with outstanding deportation orders. Immigration fugitives are aliens who fail to appear for their immigration hearings, or who abscond after being ordered by a federal immigration judge to leave the country. Of the 17 fugitives, 9 have prior criminal convictions in addition to having a final order of deportation; some of their crimes include violating a domestic abuse order, cocaine possession, and carrying a concealed weapon.
In addition, ICE officers arrested seven previously deported aliens. Four are being federally prosecuted in the Western District of Wisconsin for illegally reentering the U.S. after deportation, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. They are: Daniel Vela-Armas, 27, arrested Feb. 21 in Altoona; Luis Fernando Marcelino-Reyes, 26, arrested Feb. 20 in Dorchester; Arnulfo Romero-Gonzalez, 27, arrested Feb 20 in Edgar; and Federico Garcia-Hernandez, 28, arrested Feb. 20 in Wittenberg. Garcia-Hernandez had been deported from the U.S. on three prior occasions.
The arrestees, 45 men and 4 women, represent the following countries: Mexico, China, Germany, South Africa, Macedonia, Romania, and Yugoslavia.
"A top priority for the ICE is to enhance public safety by locating and arresting criminal aliens and fugitives, with the ultimate goal of removing them from our country in a safe and humane manner," said Ricardo Wong, field office director for the ICE Office of Detention and Removal Operations in Chicago. "ICE is dedicated to arresting criminal aliens and other violators who blatantly flout our nation's immigration laws."
The arrestees who are not being criminally prosecuted will be processed administratively for removal from the United States. Fugitives with outstanding deportation orders, and those who returned to the U.S. illegally after being deported, are subject to immediate removal from the country. The remaining aliens are pending a hearing before an immigration judge. ICE does not release the names of aliens arrested on administrative immigration charges.
This operation was conducted by ICE's Fugitive Operations Team (FOT) in Milwaukee, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing immigration fugitives and at-large criminal aliens. Last year, ICE's FOTs made more than 35,000 arrests nationwide. More than 31,000 of those arrests, or nearly 89 percent, involved immigration fugitives and aliens with prior criminal convictions.
ICE's Fugitive Operations Program is just one facet of the Department of Homeland Security's broader strategy to heighten the federal government's effectiveness at identifying and removing dangerous criminal aliens from the United States. Other initiatives that figure prominently in this effort are the Criminal Alien Program, Secure Communities and the agency's partnerships with state and local law enforcement under 287(g).
Largely as a result of these initiatives, ICE removed a total of 136,126 criminal aliens from the United States last year, a record number. The Chicago ICE office, which encompasses a 6-state area that includes Wisconsin, accounted for 9,745 of the total number of criminal aliens deported.
Support couldn’t stop Marshall teen from being deported
17-year-old sent back to El Salvador after family fled
By Deb Gau
POSTED: March 1, 2010
He was more than a good person and a good friend, friends and acquaintances of Jairo Yanes said late last week - he was like family.
"He was like a brother to everybody," said Marshall High School student Jeremy Rodgriguez on Friday. "What I remember most about him is just how outgoing he is, he's always got a huge smile."
"I miss his smile," said student Kelsey Przymus. "The small things mean a lot."
But that support wasn't enough to keep Yanes, a junior at MHS, from being deported to El Salvador on Friday. Classmates and teachers said they learned Yanes had been flown to Miami at 5 a.m. Friday and back to El Salvador later that night.
Yanes had been in a detention center in Carver County since Monday.
"It was the single hardest thing I've ever done, was let them take him," said MHS choir teacher Caroline Przymus.
Yanes was a member of show choir, and had become close to the Przymus family. They maintained contact with him over the course of the week. Friends and classmates learned last week that Yanes and his mother and younger brother came to the U.S. illegally. When Yanes came home from a show choir tournament on Feb. 21, his family was gone.
"There was nothing there but a check and a letter that said 'we love you, but we have to leave,'" Caroline Przymus said.
The family had been scheduled to meet with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents on Monday, Przymus said. Even though Yanes, 17, is a minor, she said I.C.E. could still deport him by himself. He was placed in detention at the Carver County Jail.
"He was treated very well there, he was not in a cell," Przymus said, but it was still very difficult to take.
Caroline Przymus said an immigration law specialist had been trying to help get Yanes' deportation stayed, but the stay was denied.
Classmates said they tried to help Yanes "any way we could." They, as well as community members, wrote letters in support of Yanes and even spoke with a reporter from KARE 11 News. But Friday morning, they learned it was too late.
Caroline Przymus said Yanes had a brother, 19, who lives in El Salvador, and they were trying to contact him.
Students said they were coming together to cope with the situation. Both Marshall teens and adults have left messages of support on a Facebook page created for Yanes. As of the weekend, the page had more than 400 members.
"It was really comforting to know we're not the only ones who see him as he really is," Kelsey Przymus said.
"We understand not everyone agrees with the immigration thing," Caroline Przymus said. "The students met outside school (Thursday) and I told them, you can't get upset with things people say."
A final message from Yanes posted on Facebook on Friday night read: "I have you all in the tip of my heart . . . stay strong. Don't be sad. And I love you all."
PD: Suspicious traffic stop leads to west Phoenix drop house
Reported by: Katie Fisher
Last Update: 6:14 am
PHOENIX -- Twelve people were arrested Monday after a suspicious traffic stop led police to a west Phoenix drop house, according to officials.
Lt. John White, with Maryvale police, said officers stopped a car for speeding near McDowell Road and 55th Avenue Monday night and found one man in the car without identification.
After searching the man's vehicle, police reportedly found a false compartment in the back of the radio.
White said officers found $2,000 stashed in the compartment, along with a note saying that $1,000 would be delivered Tuesday to a home near Lower Buckeye and 67th Avenue. The note reportedly suggested the location was a drop house.
When police arrived at the home, between 10 and 15 people could be seen running from the house.
Phoenix police reportedly set up a perimeter in the neighborhood and were able to capture 10 men and two juvenile males.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson Vincent Picard confirmed all of the suspects are Mexican citizens.
White said because all of the males crossed onto other people's property, they will be charged with criminal trespassing. The suspects will reportedly face both federal and state charges.
Deportations to tear apart S.F. family
Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
(03-01) 18:31 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- Immigrants' rights advocates brought forth a family of five Monday to illustrate what they called the human consequences of San Francisco's deportation crackdown: a Muni driver, his Australian wife and three children soon to be separated because a 13-year-old boy punched a schoolmate and stole 46 cents.
"I feel like they've taken my right to have a family," Charles Washington, 42, said at a news conference in the San Francisco office of the Asian Law Caucus.
Beside him sat his wife of 11 months, Tracey Washington, holding her 5-year-old son. With them were Washington's 12-year-old daughter from a previous marriage and his 13-year-old stepson, his wife's child.
On Friday, Tracey Washington and her two children are scheduled to be deported to Australia for staying in the United States after their legal status expired in May. They applied for legal residence in December based on her marriage to a U.S. citizen, but a lawyer said those hopes were doomed by the 13-year-old's schoolyard folly and the city's crackdown.
The boy, who was not identified and did not speak at the news conference, hit another student during an after-school program in January and took 46 cents from him, said attorney Angela Chan of the Asian Law Caucus. She said the punch was a joke, the other boy was unhurt and the 13-year-old apologized.
Chan said the other boy's parents contacted police, who booked the 13-year-old into juvenile hall on suspicion of assault, robbery and extortion. For a first-time offender in such an incident, Chan said, a juvenile court judge normally would reduce the charges and place the youth on probation.
But the case never got that far, because city juvenile authorities referred the boy to immigration authorities under a policy ordered by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2008 of reporting juveniles who are arrested on felony charges and are suspected of being illegal immigrants.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement promptly ordered both the boy and his mother deported. Spokeswoman Lori Haley said Monday the agency had no choice. Chan said the family has no legal recourse and will be barred from returning for between three and 10 years.
Tony Winnicker, a spokesman for Newsom, said it was "an unfortunate situation for the family, and we're sympathetic to it." But he said the mayor is actually protecting "hard-working, law-abiding residents of this city, including undocumented residents," by reporting youths after felony arrests.
Before Newsom changed city policy in July 2008, San Francisco did not turn illegal immigrant youths over to federal authorities even after felony convictions. City supervisors passed an ordinance over Newsom's veto in November that would delay reporting of juveniles until they are found to have committed a felony, but the mayor has refused to enforce the measure, saying it violates federal law.
Tracey Washington arrived on a visa waiver in February 2009 to be with Charles Washington, whom she had met on a U.S. visit six years earlier.
He said they waited until December to apply for her green card and legal residence because the application cost several thousand dollars and a federal immigration office told them there was no filing deadline. Washington said officials then refused to consider the application because it was filed more than 90 days after his wife entered the United States.
Washington said he can't move to Australia because he would lose contact with his daughter, whose custody he shares with her mother. He said the situation is particularly hard on his 5-year-old stepson - "I'm the only one he's known as dad" - and he hopes to visit them in Australia.
Highland Park church helps illegal immigrants avoid deportation
By Karen Keller/The Star-Ledger
March 02, 2010, 5:05AM
HIGHLAND PARK — A year ago, the pastor and a member of a Highland Park church went to extraordinary lengths to help an Indonesian church member avoid deportation.
The Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale and Linda Lachesnez, of the Reformed Church of Highland Park, pleaded with federal immigration officials on behalf of Henry Pangemanan. They frequently visited Pangemanan — who was being deported because his tourist visa had expired more than a decade ago — in the Elizabeth detention center.
And when it appeared their appeals were going nowhere, Kaper-Dale boarded a plane for the West Coast in a last-ditch effort to help Pangemanan, a 39-year-old father of two U.S.-born children.
The detention center in Tacoma, Wash., was to be the last stop for Pangemanan before the deportation flight to Asia.
Months later, a federal official said, the deportation order was reversed, thanks to the Highland Park activists, and Pangemanan was back in Middlesex County.
That was the start.
Since Pangemanan’s release in April, Kaper-Dale and Lachesnez have helped obtain low-level "orders of supervision" from the federal government for more than 50 Indonesians living in New Jersey. An order of supervision reduces the chance of deportation and allows the immigrant to apply for a driver’s license and a work permit and remain living at home.
The feats have inspired immigration activists and clergy nationwide at a time when deportations are up and movement toward national immigration reform has been minimal.
"People were happy to hear what happened in New Jersey. You don’t hear about that scale happening," said Tara Tidwell, spokeswoman for the National Immigrant Justice Center in Chicago.
Now Kaper-Dale, a 34-year-old Vermont native, and Lachesnez, a 63-year-old Woodbridge native who was homeless for four years, are expanding efforts to the Filipino community and beyond.
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman for New Jersey, Harold Ort, said 380,000 people were deported nationwide last year, 244,000 of them with no criminal record.
In the Highland Park case, Ort said, federal agents were impressed with Kaper-Dale and Lachesnez’s doggedness, and the strong family and community ties of the immigrants for whom they were vouching.
While ICE agents routinely use discretion in deciding who to detain and deport, it’s uncommon for community leaders to intervene in the cases of dozens, he said.
The Highland Park story has already created ripples thousands of miles away.
Four Indonesian-born illegal immigrants in Tacoma have averted deportation, as have two in Philadelphia, with the help of clergy who had learned of the New Jersey success, Kaper-Dale said.
Still, Kaper-Dale and other activists said they believe ICE in New Jersey has been more receptive to appeals than in other states.
"It feels like a real effort by ICE to listen to the concerns of advocate groups and faith-based groups," Kaper-Dale said. "There’s just a real different feel now. ICE would rather have less people in detention. It’s an attitude."
As a signal of more changes to come, ICE officials plan to meet today in Newark with New Jersey clergy members to discuss issues concerning illegal immigrants, he said.
Rex Chen, the supervising lawyer at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark, which offers legal advice to illegal immigrants, said ICE has been granting parole more frequently to immigration detainees.
"In the past six months to a year, we’ve seen them being more thoughtful," Chen said.
Ort said the agency has been detaining fewer non-criminals in recent months. Of 57 cases involving illegal immigrants in New Jersey between Nov. 10 and Jan. 31, ICE put three people in detention, said Ort.
"With respect to detention ... we are committed to working on these types of matters in a humane and thoughtful manner," he said.
As of Feb. 24, New Jersey detention centers housed 828 illegal immigrants, Ort said.
Kaper-Dale and Lachesnez, meanwhile, hope to start working with other ethnic enclaves.
Four Filipinos have already been released from the Elizabeth detention center in the past month, he said.
Like the Indonesians who were helped, the Filipino immigrants still aren’t in the clear. To get legal status they must work with an immigration lawyer and make a successful plea to a federal judge.
Men charged in theft of spikes from train track
Posted: Today at 7:49 a.m.
Updated: Today at 9:50 a.m.
FLAT ROCK, N.C. — Two men face deportation after they were arrested in the theft of more than 500 railroad spikes from train tracks still in use in western North Carolina.
Multiple media outlets reported Tuesday the men were charged in connection with the spikes from train tracks near Flat Rock.
Police say they found Cruz Mario Carnacion, 37, and Jose Luis Trejo-Yanez, 35, with more than 500 7-inch steel spikes, which can be sold for scrap.
Henderson County Sheriff Rick Davis said the missing spikes could have caused a derailment.
The men are charged with conspiracy to damage railroad property, willful injury to railroad property and trespassing on railroad property. They're being held on Immigration and Customs Enforcement orders pending deportation proceedings.
It was unclear if they had attorneys.
Whatcom County Jail report for March 1
ISABELLE DILLS - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
POSTED: Tuesday, Mar. 02, 2010
The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office lists the following people as being booked into the Whatcom County Jail. In many cases, charges have not yet been filed. Guilt is determined by the courts.
March 1, 2010
Rolandas Tamulevicius, booked by the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office for two fugitive warrants from Georgia for larceny and an immigration detainer.
Diego Armando Rivas-Zamora, booked by the Washington State Patrol for failure to appear for driving under the influence and an Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.